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Kruul's Spell Preparations

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Kruul's Spell Preparations
A dozen cycles later, Kruul found himself still working on an answer, and yet with nothing to show for it. He knew what he needed, but he'd never previously tried to force a marking in this way. Markings had always come to him as inspiration, each orc's body and soul called for a unique mark. For now, though, he was looking for a symbol that all orcs would want, a symbol that would call out to every orc soul.

He had learned how to make the more significant component of the spell, the part that would be on the effigy. For all its complexity, that spell had turned out to be the easier part. He had already inscribed that spell's core onto the first effigy and tested it as best he could, but to complete it Kruul
needed to finalise the host markings that would feed the spell. The host markings were hard. He'd made several that worked, even some that were quite simple, but none of them seemed likely to be adopted by others. He needed something that every orc would want inscribed on them and that every skin writer would want to put on those who came.

Only a handful of markings were typical across the orc race, often called up by orcs young and old. Almost all of them were related to significant events in the history of Athien or their race. For Kruul's plan to work, he needed the majority of orcs to want his marking. More so, it needed to still be relevant in a thousand cycles time.

Even though Kruul knew logically, there was no actual time limit against him; he felt more and more desperate to find a solution. Options that at first had seemed absolutely out of the question became more palatable with each passing day. He knew that his sojourns Between were substantially extending his life, meaning that he had more time to develop a plan than any but a handful of mortals would ever have. However, desire burned in him, slowly eroding his thoughts away to reveal a harsh yearning for power that didn't feel entirely his own.

He'd contemplated forcing markings upon his people, a concept that would have repelled him merely a handful of cycles ago. He suspected that if he had come up with a plausible way to do it, he would already have begun. Other, wilder and far viler plans had surfaced before being dismissed with the last of his self-respect, and he feared that soon even they would seem reasonable if he could not find another promising option.

Kruul had walked away from his race for many cycles to seek out the effigies and had been successful, finding three others and inscribing on each the same core spell that adorned the first. Two were hidden away in dark corners of the world, the realms of Goblins who had been none too glad to see him and certainly hadn't supported his efforts to taint their most sacred shrine. It had taken him weeks at each to complete the work in secret after insinuating himself into the tribe as a soothsayer and envoy from the Orcs, offering gifts and alliances that were naught but air.

He uncovered the last effigy in a mountain range on the edge of the continent. It took weeks traversing the mountains before the effigy was found deep in a pass between peaks that looked out over the sea. The area had been remote and as far as his senses could determine, uninhabited. Even the local wildlife had shunned the area, though plant-life grew all around except the last few paces to the effigy itself. He had taken his time there, calmed by the tranquillity of the surrounds and the effigy itself which seemed to radiate an extraordinary power. His inscription on that one was subtly different from the other three, turning it into a sort of focus of the energies they would all collect.

Kruul decided that would be the location he used for the final ritual when the plan was complete and the time had come to reap the benefits.
The thought of that time was what indeed drove him, the moment when he would seize the power of an entire race into himself empowering him to do what only one other mortal had ever accomplished on their own. To touch that power, he would do almost anything.

Almost.

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